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Stressedandunsure

Should I accept my offer at an Australian MD program or apply to Canadian schools with non competitive stats?

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To my surprise I got an offer to attend a very reputable Australian MD program and I am seriously contemplating it. I'll be blunt. My stats for Canadian schools suck. They are just terrible.  I'm a 26  year old non trad who was banking on applying to U of C but I am not from Alberta and my wGPA just barely misses the cut off which is so incredibly frustrating. I worked throughout my undergrad and had major family obligations/care taker responsibilities. I didn't always take a full course load nor did get straight A's every term. My last semester truly hurt me too as I got 1 C and a B making my cGPA an unimpressive 3.6. MCAT is 510 with a 131 in CARS (not an Ontario resident either so doubt I'd have a good shot at Mac) wGPA for Queens is in the mid 3.7s according to a calculator I used  and my adjusted average for UBC is barely 80% 

I don't think I have a real chance at any other schools. Correct me if I am wrong. I could move to another province for a few years, but is it worth it for a miniscule chance of acceptance? I am getting older I want to move on with my life already. I am familiar with the risks of not attending medical school in Canada. I likely would not come back. Staying in Australia or going to the US would likely be my priority. Mainly interested in primary care (FM/psyc) which apparently is good since competitive specialties are essentially  unattainable as an international graduate. Feeling very uncertain right now and would appreciate any advice from people familiar with the process. It's a choice between the certainty of going to medical school now and the risk of not getting an internship/residency vs the risk of never getting into a Canadian school with my terrible stats. 

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Do you not meet the requirements for western?

 

I personally would not go abroad because of the back breaking debt compared to studying in Canada. Keep in mind as you said you will be in the IMG pool for residency spots in the states and Canada, which is not a good place to be. Im not sure what the situation is these days in regards to staying in Australia, but I had heard that it can be difficult, so I would be thorough on that front as well.

 

overall the main reason I wouldn't do it is the debt and the situation for residency. If you think about it financially, you would be ahead staying in canada even if it took you a few years extra to get accepted.

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1 hour ago, Stressedandunsure said:

To my surprise I got an offer to attend a very reputable Australian MD program and I am seriously contemplating it. I'll be blunt. My stats for Canadian schools suck. They are just terrible.  I'm a 26  year old non trad who was banking on applying to U of C but I am not from Alberta and my wGPA just barely misses the cut off which is so incredibly frustrating. I worked throughout my undergrad and had major family obligations/care taker responsibilities. I didn't always take a full course load nor did get straight A's every term. My last semester truly hurt me too as I got 1 C and a B making my cGPA an unimpressive 3.6. MCAT is 510 with a 131 in CARS (not an Ontario resident either so doubt I'd have a good shot at Mac) wGPA for Queens is in the mid 3.7s according to a calculator I used  and my adjusted average for UBC is barely 80% 

I don't think I have a real chance at any other schools. Correct me if I am wrong. I could move to another province for a few years, but is it worth it for a miniscule chance of acceptance? I am getting older I want to move on with my life already. I am familiar with the risks of not attending medical school in Canada. I likely would not come back. Staying in Australia or going to the US would likely be my priority. Mainly interested in primary care (FM/psyc) which apparently is good since competitive specialties are essentially  unattainable as an international graduate. Feeling very uncertain right now and would appreciate any advice from people familiar with the process. It's a choice between the certainty of going to medical school now and the risk of not getting an internship/residency vs the risk of never getting into a Canadian school with my terrible stats. 

If you are truly okay with not coming back to Canada, and understand the slim chances of matching back here, then it would probably benefit you to explore this option fully and decide if it is something you would be willing to do.

As a non-Australian you will have additional barriers to face after completing med school there:

First and foremost, you will only be allowed to apply to rural areas with a letter of support from a PD and a statutory declaration stating that you will acquire permanent residency status before the completion of your internship. If you are not willing to train in rural areas, consider that a red flag.

Secondly. Tuition is absurdly high in Australia. In addition to living expenses, think 300K+. Remember that you will be getting a measly pay of 50-60K as an intern there.

Thirdly. Your salary as a GP in australia will be below 200K pre-tax. Average pay of GP in australia is around 180K. You will be taking home a lot less after tax and overhead.

Consider these factors and if the prospect still interests you, then it may be something worth pursuing. 

Alternatively, you could consider DO. Your GPA and MCAT are actually slightly above the competitive range. DO is a much much better option than any medical school abroad. Your prospects of getting residency and subsequent jobs after DO in the US are much better than Australia, especially if you are okay with staying in the US. Doctors also net more pay in the US compared to Australia. 

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1 hour ago, ysera said:

Do you not meet the requirements for western?

 

I personally would not go abroad because of the back breaking debt compared to studying in Canada. Keep in mind as you said you will be in the IMG pool for residency spots in the states and Canada, which is not a good place to be. Im not sure what the situation is these days in regards to staying in Australia, but I had heard that it can be difficult, so I would be thorough on that front as well.

 

overall the main reason I wouldn't do it is the debt and the situation for residency. If you think about it financially, you would be ahead staying in canada even if it took you a few years extra to get accepted.

Just checked and I do not unfortunately.

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2 minutes ago, RiderSx said:

If you are truly okay with not coming back to Canada, and understand the slim chances of matching back here, then it would probably benefit you to explore this option fully and decide if it is something you would be willing to do.

As a non-Australian you will have additional barriers to face after completing med school there:

First and foremost, you will only be allowed to apply to rural areas with a letter of support from a PD and a statutory declaration stating that you will acquire permanent residency status before the completion of your internship. If you are not willing to train in rural areas, consider that a red flag.

Secondly. Tuition is absurdly high in Australia. In addition to living expenses, think 300K+. Remember that you will be getting a measly pay of 50-60K as an intern there.

Thirdly. Your salary as a GP in australia will be below 200K pre-tax. Average pay of GP in australia is around 180K. You will be taking home a lot less after tax and overhead.

Consider these factors and if the prospect still interests you, then it may be something worth pursuing. 

Alternatively, you could consider DO. Your GPA and MCAT are actually slightly above the competitive range. DO is a much much better option than any medical school abroad. Your prospects of getting residency and subsequent jobs after DO in the US are much better than Australia, especially if you are okay with staying in the US. Doctors also net more pay in the US compared to Australia. 

Thank you for the detailed post. I am ok with going rural but are you sure that internationals are only limited to rural spots? I thought that the state you graduate in makes a difference. I have heard of some internationals getting spots in regional areas. 

 

I have heard the USMLE step 1 will be made P/F. In terms of matching in the US for psyc or FM, do you think this will make things more difficult? 

 

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What Canadian schools have you applied to?

From what you have written, you would be eligible to apply to U of A, and with their recent decreased weighting on GPA (also recalculate your cGPA with their scheme, which drops your worst year) you could have a shot. 

My recommendation would be to try to apply for one cycle in Canada, and if it doesn’t work then look into other options( whether that’s Australia, another career path, Masters, etc.). You aren’t really that old in the grand-scheme of things. An extra year isn’t going to matter.

All the best with this difficult decision!

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Tough decision man!

First off don't be too hard on yourself, being a non trad is a strength to your applications, interviews, and future career as a doctor. 

Maybe you already answered this but when does the Australian school start? And how much is the fine for backing out? 

If this is for next year intake I absolutely would apply to as many Canadian schools as I could. The application fees and a cancellation fee are so small compared to the convenience of matching to a Canadian school.

If this is for immediate intake then I would accept the Australian offer especially because you seem realistic about possibly staying in Australia or the US - This is where you imagine your grandma saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". 

Overall sit back and ask yourself what you are most passionate about. If medicine is more important to you than living in Canada (it's not impossible to come back just not guranteed) then you have your answer. And remember your happiness is probably most important and being in medicine definitely does not guarantee happiness. Just my two cents and good luck!

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On 8/17/2019 at 2:02 PM, Stressedandunsure said:

Thank you for the detailed post. I am ok with going rural but are you sure that internationals are only limited to rural spots? I thought that the state you graduate in makes a difference. I have heard of some internationals getting spots in regional areas. 

 

I have heard the USMLE step 1 will be made P/F. In terms of matching in the US for psyc or FM, do you think this will make things more difficult? 

 

I doubt it will actually go p/f. If it does that will unlikely be good for IMGs.  

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On 8/17/2019 at 8:37 PM, Lancia Stratos said:

What Canadian schools have you applied to?

From what you have written, you would be eligible to apply to U of A, and with their recent decreased weighting on GPA (also recalculate your cGPA with their scheme, which drops your worst year) you could have a shot. 

My recommendation would be to try to apply for one cycle in Canada, and if it doesn’t work then look into other options( whether that’s Australia, another career path, Masters, etc.). You aren’t really that old in the grand-scheme of things. An extra year isn’t going to matter.

All the best with this difficult decision!

None so far. A lot of Australian schools take applications on a rolling basis unlike Canadian med schools. I am trying to gauge whether it would be worth applying for a cycle here. 

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On 8/17/2019 at 8:52 PM, Frederick Sanger said:

If your ultimate goal is coming back to Canada and getting matched to a competitive specialty, this is a far too turbulent and uncertain route. 

You have two options:

1) applying again to Canadian meds by improving your GPA on the side or

2) Doing a 2nd bachelors degree that can be completed within 2 years ( 60 units or 10 Full course equivalents). You would be opening up Western, Queen's, Dalhousie, McGill and potnetially UofT depending on how you write the AEE. 

It is a tough decision, but integrate everyone's opinions before deciding. Just know, this process is difficult for everyone and it takes a lot of patience. If your heart is set on Canada, don't do it. If you don't mind living and practicing abroad, then it's a great choice given that you mention it is a reputable program. 

 

Thanks for the advice. I've put a lot of thought into the options you mentioned and I just can't do a second undergrad dude. I'm 26, turning 27 in December. I need to move on with my life. I can't be suspended in limbo spending more money on undergrad courses while working part time. I know it would open up some schools but for all the non trads who go this route and get accepted there are probably dozens if not more who get rejected.   Alternatively I considered doing an MSc or MA but for Canadian schools that does not help much.  Thank you for the advice though. My heart isn't set on Canada so I am increasingly leaning towards my Australian offer. 

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On 8/18/2019 at 7:32 AM, Pepperyelk said:

Tough decision man!

First off don't be too hard on yourself, being a non trad is a strength to your applications, interviews, and future career as a doctor. 

Maybe you already answered this but when does the Australian school start? And how much is the fine for backing out? 

If this is for next year intake I absolutely would apply to as many Canadian schools as I could. The application fees and a cancellation fee are so small compared to the convenience of matching to a Canadian school.

If this is for immediate intake then I would accept the Australian offer especially because you seem realistic about possibly staying in Australia or the US - This is where you imagine your grandma saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". 

Overall sit back and ask yourself what you are most passionate about. If medicine is more important to you than living in Canada (it's not impossible to come back just not guranteed) then you have your answer. And remember your happiness is probably most important and being in medicine definitely does not guarantee happiness. Just my two cents and good luck!

Thanks. It's difficult not to be hard on myself sometimes. Life experience, overcoming adversity and long term employment certainly counts for a lot but plenty of people have been/are in my shoes. I don't think I am unique in that respect.

 

 

Australian program starts in February 2020. Have not made a deposit yet so declining the offer would not have any serious financial consequences  but time to accept the offer is running out. I appreciate the input. 

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I am a GP in Australia and have commented on this topic in the past. See my previous post here -  

In short, going to Australia is a big risk compared to several years ago and re-applying in Canada might be the better option.

I did want to comment on a previous post about training and working in Australia.

AFAIK as an international graduate you do not need to sign a statutory declaration stating you will get PR before starting internship. The poster may have been referring to signing a statutory declaration prior to the start of GP residency. In brief: as an international graduate you would only be eligible to apply to a handful of the available GP residency programs and you would need a support letter from the GP residency PD and sign a statutory declaration. Getting the letter and signing the statutory declaration are straightforward. Neither are difficult. Now, getting internship or PR is a different story but I won't comment on that.

International tuition is very high. Junior (hospital) doctors however are quite well paid. I believe NSW has the lowest intern salary and it is about 67K. Furthermore the salary is based on a 76 hour per 2 week work cycle. Any additional hours you work over 76 hours in that 2 weeks you are paid for and those extra hours attract overtime ("penalty rates"). You will work more than 76 hours/2 weeks as a junior doctor. And of course your salary goes up every year. A good rule of thumb is that junior doctors will make about 1.5 times what their base salary is. A lot of other benefits as well including a generous professional development allowance and 4-5 weeks paid vacation depending on the state.

I couldn't find any accurate figures on average GP salary but I have seen the 180k/year figure floating around. I suspect that figure takes into account work patterns of part-time GPs which would bring the average down. A GP working full time at 4.5 days a week and seeing 20 to 30 patients a day would most certainly make more than 180k especially if they were working in a rural area. In my 2 years as a GP resident in a rural area I earned on average 155k per year and this was not an uncommon amount among my other rural GP resident friends. This was after overhead, which was more than 50%, but before tax. The Commonwealth annual bonus is also paid out to rural GPs and GP residents, which is a lump sum paid every year they are in rural practice or residency. It is paid out annually as long as you are practicing rurally, and the more rural you are the higher the lump sum. The sum paid out to the most rural GPs is 60k. Last but not least we get a pension. Our workplace must match an amount equal to 10% of our salary and contribute it towards our pension, so it is like getting an extra 10% on top of our salary.

There are several problems in the GP residency program as well as working as a GP here in Australia which I have not mentioned. Weighing up all the pros and cons I think re-applying in Canada might be the better option. I wrote this post mainly to comment on what I think are inaccuracies mentioned about Australian GP residency and working. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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On 8/17/2019 at 2:38 PM, Stressedandunsure said:

To my surprise I got an offer to attend a very reputable Australian MD program and I am seriously contemplating it. I'll be blunt. My stats for Canadian schools suck. They are just terrible.  I'm a 26  year old non trad who was banking on applying to U of C but I am not from Alberta and my wGPA just barely misses the cut off which is so incredibly frustrating. I worked throughout my undergrad and had major family obligations/care taker responsibilities. I didn't always take a full course load nor did get straight A's every term. My last semester truly hurt me too as I got 1 C and a B making my cGPA an unimpressive 3.6. MCAT is 510 with a 131 in CARS (not an Ontario resident either so doubt I'd have a good shot at Mac) wGPA for Queens is in the mid 3.7s according to a calculator I used  and my adjusted average for UBC is barely 80% 

I don't think I have a real chance at any other schools. Correct me if I am wrong. I could move to another province for a few years, but is it worth it for a miniscule chance of acceptance? I am getting older I want to move on with my life already. I am familiar with the risks of not attending medical school in Canada. I likely would not come back. Staying in Australia or going to the US would likely be my priority. Mainly interested in primary care (FM/psyc) which apparently is good since competitive specialties are essentially  unattainable as an international graduate. Feeling very uncertain right now and would appreciate any advice from people familiar with the process. It's a choice between the certainty of going to medical school now and the risk of not getting an internship/residency vs the risk of never getting into a Canadian school with my terrible stats. 

Personally, if you are dead set on medicine, willing to move to Australia, have the finances to do so and are completely understanding that you will likely regret your decision several times throughout this painful painful journey then move. I know about a dozen people who went abroad to a "reputable commonwealth school". 1/5th made it back to Canada in residency first time around and 1/5th made it back after a year out. Only one in a moderately competitive specialty. 

With that being said, a 131 on CARS and a 3.6 GPA is actually quite doable even as OOP for Mac. Not that many people apply OOP to Mac and it isn't much more competitive than IP. You'll be surprised a 131 on CARS is very strong and can definitely outweigh your lower GPA. I'd give it at least one more chance, apply broadly, consider the US as well. 

Don't be fooled by world rankings for Australian medical schools. These schools have tapped into a well of cash and they know it. The program is pay to play and they have low entry requirements because they want the cash. This isn't unique to Australia. Canadian schools do this in many fields just not in medicine. If you get in this year you'll very likely get in next year and the year after that, this wasn't a fluke, this is expected. People who've had old MCATs of 24 have gotten into USyd for example, so I wouldn't be worried that by passing on this offer you won't get another chance. 

 

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On 8/23/2019 at 10:08 AM, ilikebirds said:

What fields btw? Just curious 

Accounting, Finance in particular, but really across the board. Many schools have started masters degrees where 70%+ students are international. https://mmpa.utoronto.ca/ is an example. UofT leverages its university world ranking but in fact many of these programs are not difficult to get into at all. All Canadian schools charge international students very high tuition rates and the rich from the world's developing countries are dropping their kids who may not be good enough to do well in their own countries or go to the US here. Entry criteria are not very strict, but they get a nice degree. 

 

 

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